“divots in the pivots”

Four sandhill cranes forage near an irrigation pivot.

Farming is done by inches. The precision that is required to be a successful farmer is staggering, so ideal conditions are critical for success. In South Central Nebraska, the state is fortunate to have some of the best soils on earth for growing crops. This fortune comes with an exacting price however. The cost of owning and/or renting this ground is high, which limits the producers’ margins to make change.

South Central Nebraska is also home to the continent’s largest migration of birds every spring and fall. Hundreds of species numbering in the millions visit our state on their way north or south every year. They depend upon the rivers and wetlands of our state to provide a “bed and breakfast” for their journey. Rainwater basin wetlands are a critical source of nutrition for these migratory birds. They dot the landscape of farming in 22 counties and to the farmer they often represent a hindrance to profitable farming.

‘Divots in the pivots’ is a program that Aquamart is proud to be involved in. The goal is to speak to the farmer about increasing the profitability of wetlands by providing financial, technical and scientific resources to the producer and conservationist alike. Cost sharing on irrigation technology that allows for the seamless integration of wetland management with row crop farming is critical for the success of both wildlife and agriculture. Wetlands are difficult to farm. Finding ways to give the farmer a tool box for management that will allow them to diversify their management gives them the power to be a more fit operator and a stronger conservationist.

We are working with the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture to help build a better conversation between wildlife management and agriculture.